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Poetry and the Fate of the Senses Paperback – January 20, 2002

ISBN-13: 978-0226774145 ISBN-10: 0226774147 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 458 pages
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press; 1 edition (January 20, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226774147
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226774145
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #767,164 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

"The historical body of poetic forms is more and more an archive of lost sensual experiences the sound of wind in uninhabited spaces; the weight of ripe things not yet harvested." In Poetry and the Fate of the Senses, poet and critic Susan Stewart (On Longing) tracks poetry's sensual engagements, drawing on a truly incredible number of classical and modern canonical texts to show how poetry constructs its peculiar phenomenologies.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Stewart, a poet, professor, and MacArthur Fellow, ambitiously traces "the path of the aesthetic in search of an explanation for the role of poetry in our culture." In a book much like Burke's On the Sublime or Kant's Observations on the Sublime, Stewart tacks from darkness and grief to sound, poetic voice, lyric possession, the deictic now (measure and time), and the nocturne. She contends that poetry "makes tangible, visible, and audible the contours of our shared humanity," that it "sustains and transforms the threshold between individual and social existence." Drawing from many examples of poetry, from the ancient Greeks to the postmoderns, she explores the interplay between somatic apprehensions (sound, listening, touch, vertigo) and formal orders. Both physically and poetically big, this book is recommended for those studying the metaphysics of poetry. Scott Hightower, Fordham Univ., New York
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Mike on December 26, 2010
Format: Paperback
This award-winning book is chock full of thought-provoking material, which not only collects ground-shifting pieces Stewart has written (such as "Lyric Possession"), but also develops a very coherent thruline out of that wonderful work, marshaling it all towards an argument about the importance of the senses in poetic form and in our reading of poetry: the sensuousness of verse, worked up in its form, is a form of collective memory, as we take up and reuse, rework different shapes from the past. Moving through examples across many periods, it gives us new ways to care about poetry while we analyze it, pursuing a range of aesthetic questions with gestures towards poems upon which they bear. This may frustrate overmethodical readers (looking for surefire ways to produce readings within the stale paramaters of the "period"), but what they miss is that the book has a concreteness that actually rivals what a more confined study can produce. In short, it has a suggestiveness that is only experimental in the sense that it comes from experience, and will give you as many new avenues into poetry as reasons for the importance of verse in our time.
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21 of 45 people found the following review helpful By DabblerArts on April 6, 2009
Format: Paperback
This book is certainly learned and brilliant, as those are the things it labors to be. Though geared toward a general audience, helpful criticism it is not, as Stewart here possesses none of the patience and clarity of a real critic. Every page offers a slew of insights atop a heap of impressive names and works; every paragraph is a veritable bibliography in the making. The method seems to be to start with some notion (that sound has a relation to meaning, for example), then to send research assistants to chase down all possible references and illustrations. It's very tedious reading, and as I've said, not at all helpful, since nothing is really explained, only endlessly and needlessly elaborated upon. I'm writing this to warn those who might be tempted, as I was, by the awesome title.

I've just read Walter Ong's Orality and Textuality, and what an enlightening contrast that is. Ong deals with some of the same questions that Stewart concerns herself with, but with real method and seriousness. I highly recommend that book!
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